Objectives: Assessment of functional capacity (FC) is useful in monitoring patient’s progress and also predicts the prognosis. However, sophisticated laboratory equipments are usually required which are not readily available in the clinical settings. This study assessed FC of patients with hypertension using the 6-Minute Walk Test (6-MWT).
Method: This cross-sectional study employed purposive sampling technique to recruit 396 patients with mild to moderate hypertension from the Cardiac Care Unit of a Nigerian university teaching hospital. Anthropometric characteristics and cardiovascular parameters were measured using standard procedures. All participants underwent a 6-MWT and the total distance covered was recorded whilst maximum oxygen consumption (VO2 max) was estimated using a predictive equation. Data were analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics at p<0.05 of significance.
Results: Males and females were comparable in physical characteristics and cardiovascular parameters (p>0.05). The total distance walked and estimated VO2 max were 368.9±60.5m and 9.6±0.9mL/kg/min respectively. Cardiovascular parameters were increased significantly ([SBP: t=2.499; p=0.025]; [DBP: t=-3.114; p=0.023] and [HR: t=2.055; p=0.016]) post 6MWT. Furthermore, there was a significant inverse correlation between FC and body mass index (r =-0.342; p=0.002).
Conclusion: The participants in this study demonstrated a moderate functional capacity. The six minute walk test produced significant changes in the cardiovascular parameters among patients with controlled hypertension. A significant inverse relationship exists between functional capacity and body mass index. The six minute walk test may be useful as a reliable clinical tool for assessing functional capacity.
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